Category Archives: Uncategorized

Draft Kalamazoo Climate Action Plan Now Available for Public Review, Comment

Since January 2017, The City of Kalamazoo has been collaborating with students in the Master of International Development Administration (MIDA) program at Western Michigan University to develop a climate action plan for the City of Kalamazoo,

The students were enrolled in the MIDA program’s capstone seminar, Political Science 6380: Planning Development Programs. This course typically involves planning hypothetical projects that could be implemented somewhere in the  developing world. This year the class was presented with a unique opportunity to collaborate with the City to develop a plan to address challenges that will arise due to our changing climate. In the midst of the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 project, then-City Planner Rebekah Kik challenged the class to identify the most important actions the City of Kalamazoo could take to minimize its contribution to climate change.

Since then, the class has talked with dozens of local stakeholders and examined what other communities across the United States are doing or have done to address these issues. The results of this effort is a draft Climate Action Plan for the City of Kalamazoo.

UPDATE, MAY 2, 2017: The public comment peried for this plan has ended.  

Have a Safe and Enjoyable Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires and the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, along with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is urging the public to keep safety in mind when preparing holiday meals.

Cooking fires are more likely to happen on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In 2014, nearly four times as many home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than compared to any other typical day. US Fire Department’s respond to approximately 1,730 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day.

NFPA studies show cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Hundreds of Americans are killed each year due to home cooking fires and thousands more are injured. Annually, cooking fires cause more than half a billion dollars in direct property damage to homes and the belongings inside. The leading contributing factor to these fires is unattended cooking. In fact unattended cooking is also the contributing factor in fire deaths. Cooking equipment is involved in almost half (48%) of all reported home fires and civilian fire deaths.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in entertaining guests, but it is important to remember to monitor meal preparation closely as most cooking fires start because cooking has been left unattended.

NFPA offers these tips for safer cooking:

Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.

If you must leave the home for even a short period of time, turn off the stove or oven.

If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly and remain in the home while food is cooking. Use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.

Stay alert. Don’t cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

Keep things that burn – potholders, oven mitts, paper or plastic – off your stovetop.

Don’t store things that can burn in an oven, microwave, or toaster oven.

Clean food and grease off burners, stovetops and ovens.

Wear clothing with sleeves that are short, close fitting, or tightly rolled up.

Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.

Use the stove’s back burners whenever possible, and turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk that pots with hot contents will be knocked over.

Never hold a small child while cooking.

Turkey Frying

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety urges consumers to use extreme caution when preparing their holiday meals with a turkey fryer because of the dangers frequently associated with the devices. Tests have shown that the fryers have a high risk of tipping over, overheating, or spilling hot oil, leading to fires, burns, or other injuries.

The cooking method, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, requires placing the turkey in three gallons or more of oil, heated by propane. Some opt for frying, believing it delivers better taste and cuts down on cooking time; but the units have come under scrutiny as Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., an independent product safety-testing organization, has decided not to certify any turkey fryer with their UL mark.

Some concerns about turkey fryers:

When the turkey is placed in the hot oil, oil may spill onto the burner, creating a fire.

The units can easily tip over, spilling hot, scalding oil onto anyone or anything nearby.

Most units do not have automatic thermostat controls, so oil may heat until it catches fire.

The sides, lids, and handles get extremely hot and may cause burns.

The Bureau of Fire Services urges consumers to use cooking equipment that has been tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.

“Unattended cooking is the primary cause of residential fires, By simply oven-roasting a turkey the traditional way, or ordering a fried turkey from a grocery store or caterer, who are experienced in deep frying food and use professional-grade frying equipment, consumers can reduce the chance for serious burns and injuries.”

However, if a turkey fryer is used, here are some tips for safer use:

Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.

Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls causing the oil to continue to heat until it catches fire.

Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.

To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect eyes from oil splatter.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.

The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby and use it if the fire is manageable. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Bronson Park this Friday, November 25

Kalamazoo’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is only a few weeks away! Join us from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 25 as we celebrate the season and light up Bronson Park! Have a cup of hot chocolate while the children enjoy creating their own arts and crafts, visits from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, ice carving, and a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Hot chocolate donations will be accepted with proceeds benefiting the YWCA Kalamazoo’s Domestic Violence Shelter. The tree lighting ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. After the event, hop on the Holly Jolly Trolley and take a trip to one of your favorite downtown spots!

Schedule:

5:00 – 6:00 Kids Craft Tent sponsored by Kalamazoo Valley Museum
5:00 – 6:00 Reindeer from GG Reindeer Farm
5:00 – 6:00 Ice Carving Display by Ice Brigade
5:20 – 6:00 Children’s Music by Small Sounds
** 6:00 Tree Lighting Ceremony begins **
6:20 – 7:00 Live holiday music from Kaitlin Rose
6:20 – 7:15 Kids Craft Tent sponsored by Kalamazoo Valley Museum
6:20 – 7:15 Ice Carving Display by Ice Brigade
6:20 – 7:30 Reindeer from GG Reindeer Farm

Miss Greater Kalamazoo Shelby Lentz will also be appearing throughout the event (Miss Greater Kalamazoo Scholarship Program)

Food trucks:
Sloppy’s
Coffee Rescue
Kalamazoo Doodles
Lazy Man BBQ
Windy City K-9 Unit
Organic Gypsy
Gorilla Gourmet

Artwork by Joshua Plaunt

Statement from Mayor Hopewell following the Presidential Election

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell released the following statement in light of last week’s Presidential Election results.

“Following last week’s Presidential Election and the divisive and unprecedented tone of the campaigning that preceded it, many members of our community woke up on Wednesday feeling anxious and worried.

This election will change our President, but it will not change our values. Kalamazoo is a diverse and welcoming place, one of the many aspects of this community of which I am extremely proud. We celebrate, value, and respect our differences and no one individual will change that.

I have been saddened to hear reports of increases in hate crimes and intimidation following the election. Bigotry and hate will not be tolerated in our community. I urge everyone to remain diligent and report any instances of intimidation or potential harm to Kalamazoo Public Safety. For those feeling afraid, there are resources available in our community and the region. Know there are caring people available to help in both your neighbors and support services in the area.

We must continue to stand by one another, stand up for what is right, and remain engaged. Presidential elections are held every four years, but there are always opportunities to get involved and move our community and nation in a positive direction. The City Commission and I will continue this work and I hope you will join us.”

Residents invited to community discussion of Kik Pool on Monday, July 25

The City of Kalamazoo’s Department of Parks and Recreation is inviting all interested Kalamazoo-area residents to a community discussion of the Kik Pool on Monday, July 25 at 6:00 pm.  The meeting will be held at the pool and city staff and lifeguards will be on hand to answer questions and facilitate the discussion.

The purpose of this meeting is to gather community input and ideas for the pool, explore potential elements that could be incorporated, and assist in planning for the pool’s future. This meeting will be the first in a series of community input meetings regarding the Kik Pool and the beginning of a public engagement process to create a plan that meets our community’s needs while responsibly utilizing public resources.

Community members are strongly encouraged to attend and voice their opinions and ideas for the Kik Pool.  For more information regarding the meeting, please see the Parks and Recreation Department website at www.kzooparks.org or call the office at 337-8191.

Contact:

Patrick McVerry, Recreation Manager
mcverryp@kalamazoocity.org
(269) 337-8191

Precautionary Boil Water Advisory Issued

A portion of the City of Kalamazoo water system experienced a pressure reduction due to a water main break along Gull Road between Humphrey Street and Riverview Drive. The City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department is issuing a precautionary boil water advisory for all water intended for drinking or ingestion or any consumptive uses within the impacted area. This advisory is precautionary only; there have not been confirmed tests showing coliform bacteria present in the water supply system.

The impacted area is approximately Riverview Drive to the west, Parchmount Avenue to the north, Nazareth Road to the east, and Kenilworth Avenue to the south (please see attached map).

Municipal water customers in the affected area may use bottled water for consumptive purposes or boil their tap water for 2 minutes prior to use for drinking or other ingestion. No special precautionary measures are necessary for water used for personal hygiene.

Please call 269-373-5337 with any questions related to boiling tap water or general water quality questions or visit the City of Kalamazoo website atwww.kalamazoocity.org or the Kalamazoo County website atwww.kalamazoocounty.com/hcs.

Public Services staff will continue to monitor the system for pressure and water quality. The precautionary boil water notice will remain in effect until further notice.

Map

Statement from family of Tiana Carruthers

The family of Tiana Carruthers, the woman who was injured in the shooting that occurred in Kalamazoo County’s Richland Township on Saturday, February 20, 2016, has requested that Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell convey their statement below.

23 February 2016

Statement from Iona Carruthers, mother of Tiana Carruthers who is in serious condition.

Iona asks that her family not be contacted for now but she would like to share the words below.

“Our hearts reach out to all families touched by this senseless tragedy.

We appreciate every prayer and tender thought extended to us. We also offer special thanks to our law enforcement teams, EMS professionals and the doctors and nurses who are providing us compassionate care.”

Statement from Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell has released the following statement regarding the tragic shooting that took place on Saturday, February 20, claiming the lives of six innocent people and leaving two others critically injured.

Our community grieves for the victims and families of Saturday’s tragic and heart breaking events. At this time we don’t know what prompted the shooter to act in this evil, ugly way. To the best of our knowledge they were senseless and random acts of violence which could have occurred anywhere. What we do know is that Kalamazoo is, and will continue to be, a great and caring community.

As a community, our first priority must be supporting the victims and their families. We must come together in their support- including the shooter’s family, who were also innocent victims in this tragedy.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Medical Services paramedics and all of the law enforcement professionals involved in apprehending this suspect. Their outstanding work led to the apprehension of this individual before any more lives could be lost, and their efforts will continue until justice can be served for the victims of these heinous crimes.

I grieve along with the rest of our community, region, and nation, for the victims’ families and our community. Kalamazoo has become one of the far too many communities in our country where this type of violence has claimed innocent lives. We have always stepped up when challenged, and we will stand together in this sad time. We cannot be fearful, but must instead unite and show the love and compassion that defines us as a community.

Letters of Support for Kalamazoo and Affected Communities

During this difficult time, many other communities have offered their support and condolences  to our community:

President Barack Obama, Washington, DC

On Monday, President Obama contacted Mayor Hopewell, Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller, and other City Officials to offer condolences on his behalf, and on the behalf of the First Lady and their daughters. The President also pledged the support of the federal government and thanked local law enforcement.

Mlive: President Obama offers condolences in call to Kalamazoo officials

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids, MI

Dear Mayor Hopewell:

On behalf of the residents of the City of Grand Rapids, I want to extend our community’s heartfelt condolences to our West Michigan neighbor, the City of Kalamazoo, and to the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

We are terribly saddened by the events of this past weekend. We also express our sincere sympathy and offer prayers and peace during your period of grief and mourning. We wish for the speedy recovery of the wounded and pray that the fond memories you share of your family, friends and neighbors impacted by this senseless violence comfort you and make your community stronger. 

The City of Kalamazoo offered its support and was a good friend to our community when the City of Grand Rapids experienced a similar tragedy years ago. We have never forgotten the love, generosity and support bestowed to our community by the people of Kalamazoo during that time of sorrow.

May our condolences bring you comfort and ease the pain of this tragedy.

In friendship,

 

Rosalynn Bliss

(pdf)


Mayor Dave Walters, Battle Creek, MI

Our hearts are heavy and sad about the tragic events that took place in the Kalamazoo area, and the loss of life associated with these events.

We are mourning, as are other West Michigan communities who are affected by these evil deeds.

Please know that our community will provide whatever assistance we can to the victims’ families. As a community we will stand together with faith and strength to support them.

Our community also thanks everyone involved, including employees, citizens, dispatchers, first responders and medical personnel for their collaborative efforts in assisting the victims and apprehending the suspected perpetrator.

(pdf)


 Fmr. Mayor Jerry Naftaly, Oak Park, MI

Mayor, Commissioners, City Manager, Police Chief & Public Safety Dept. and staff,

I add my sincere sympathy and condolences to the people of Kalamazoo on this tragedy.

My thoughts, prayers and best wishes to you during the healing process.

Sincerely,

 

Jerry Naftaly


 Mayor Lisa C. Merkel, Herndon, VA

Dear Mayor Hopewell:

On behalf of the citizens of the Town of Herndon, Virginia and the Herndon Town
Council, we convey our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families and loved ones
of those who lost their lives or were injured in the unspeakable atrocities committed in
the City of Kalamazoo last weekend. We stand with you in solidarity as Americans, and
we will keep you and your residents in our thoughts and prayers. We also offer our
prayers and gratitude to the public safety personnel who risked their lives and worked
tirelessly in responding to these horrific incidents.

On a personal note, please know that I am thinking about you and your community. I
had a wonderful time touring Kalamazoo nearly three years ago, and I fondly remember
how impressed I was with your beautiful city. Please do not hesitate to let me know if I
can be of assistance during this difficult time.

May God bless the Kalamazoo community.

Warmest regards,

 

Lisa C. Merkel
Mayor

(pdf)


Mayor Hiroyasu Kurihara, Numazu City, Japan (Kalamazoo’s Sister City)

Honorable Mayor of City of Kalamazoo
Mr. Bobby Hopewell

 

Dear Mr. Hopewell,

We have known the shooting inident that happened last weekend in Kalamazoo County. Kalamazoo is sanctuary from crime phenomenon, and we are all shocked and deeply saddened by the tragedy.

It’s immeasurable to imaglne the heartbreak of people in Kalamazoo. On behalf of the citizens of Numazu City, I would like to express our heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolence to all victims.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our Kalamazoo friends and American people in general, and we hope such tragedies will never happen again.

Best regards,

 

Hiroyasu Kurihara
Mayor of Numazu City

(pdf)


Victor Afanasenko, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pushkin, Russia (Kalamazoo’s Sister City)

Dear Bobby Hopewell, Jim Ritsema, and Kalamazoo friends!

All citizens of Pushkin sister-city and Chamber members convey sincere condolences upon the tragedy that happened on the 20-th of February and claimed the lives of seven people.

Shooting people on the streets of a peaceful city is unnatural crime. Our keen sorrow is strenghtened by the fact that there were children among the victims. We hope that such tragedy will never happen again.

We convey words of encouragement and sympathy to the relatives and close ones of the dead.

 

V. Afanasenko
President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Of Pushkin and Pavlovsk